Taps (1981)

Director: Harold Becker

Writer: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay) Devery Freeman (Novel)

Starring: George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise


Plot: Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Little 80’s Movie


Story: Taps starts as we meet our Military Cadets with Cadet Major Brian Moreland (Hutton) getting the promotion to this rank for his final year at the academy from General Harlan Bache (Scott). Bache informs the students this will be their final year before the academy is going to be knocked down for development.

When there is an altercation outside the grounds Bache accidently kills a young civilian. The consequences of this are that the base is going to close early but Moreland brings together the cadets with his Captains Alex Dwyer (Penn) and David Shawn (Cruise) to hold the base so they can have their final year and prove the academy is important for the community.


Thoughts on Taps


Characters – General Harlan Bache runs the military academy, he has done for years and enjoys developing the next generation of soldiers, when he is accidently involved in a shooting of a civilian he is removed from the base ending up in hospital. Cadet Major Brian Moreland leads the cadets, he was handpicked by the General and once the General is off the base, he leads the defence of the base from the incoming developers. Cadet Captain Dwyer is the closest friend Moreland has on the base and does clash with Shawn at time over clash of styles. Cadet Captain David Shawn is the fellow captain that is determined to prove the cadets can handle themselves, he acts quicker than Dwyer which leads to their tension at times.

PerformanceThe performances are great throughout, George Scott is your big name draw for the time and is good in his role, with Timothy Hutton here right after his Oscar win that is great throughout. Tom Cruise and Sean Penn both show their skills in the supporting role where they easily becoming big stars.

StoryThe story does follow the cadets who look to defend their school after an accident that is about to be getting closed. It shows how they were trained to handle themselves and stand up for what they believe in a bigger cause than themselves. It does have moments where you think it is a kids movie but the reality war is never just this tone and you also couldn’t see both sides fighting for what is mostly property.

SettingsMost of the film is set at the academy which shows how the young men worked together to stand up for what could build on a generation of future soldiers.

Scene of the Movie – Escape the locals.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does seem like fighting for almost nothing, even if it is mostly tactical building up to a potential battle.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us three young talented actors who all went onto bigger project in a film which shows the meaning behind being a solider from a young age, working together and understanding when to stand up for something you believe in.


Overall: Good drama showing us plenty of military tactics.





Halloween Kingathon – Firestarter (1984)

Banner-2logoDirector: Mark L Lester

Writer: Stanley Mann (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C Scott, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher, Moses Gunn

Plot: A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Nicely Paced Horror Thriller

Story: Firestarter starts Andy McGee (Keith) trying to take his daughter Charlie (Barrymore) away from a group of authority figures. We flash back to the experiment being performed on ten people, five get water the other five get a special treatment where Andy took place in and met Vicky (Locklear). We see how the two learn they have telekinetic powers the rest of the experiment went horribly wrong.

We jump back to the present and the father, daughter escape where we learn that Charlie has the ability to start a fire and control an attack on someone. We continue to flash between what happened to put Andy and Charlie on the run and Doctor Joseph Wanless (Jones) working with Captain Hollister (Sheen) who are trying to bring them in before Charlie becomes to dangerous, but to do so he has to turn to the unorthodoxy John Rainbird (Scott) to get through to Charlie.

Firestarter is a classic horror film that is perfectly paced to show how difficult it will be for our young girl as she deals with these new powers. We see how three different sides of the battle are trying to either help or hinder her. We get too see the usual military side of the story who wants to have a new weapon while we also get to see how a father will do anything for his child. While this does explore the normal ideas of dealing with powers this ends up being very engaging as you want to know where and how powerful Charlie could become. (8/10)

Actor Review

David Keith: Andrew McGee is the father of Charlie who has telekinetic powers, he is on the run with Charlie from the government, he will do anything to protect her from being part of any experiment, but his abilities to stop her getting out of control are growing weak. David does a good job as the concerned protective father. (7/10)

Drew Barrymore: Charlene McGee is the daughter of Andy and Vicky, born with the power to start fires, she is being taught how to control her powers but this is becoming ever increasingly difficult as the government close in on her. Drew showed she was a star in the making with this performance. (8/10)

Martin Sheen: Captain Hollister is the military man who is tracking Andy and Charlie down so he could use Charlie as a weapon against the advice of Wanless. Martin showed us that he was always going to make both a good villain and military figure. (7/10)

Support Cast: Firestarter has a supporting cast that includes Heather Locklear as the mother of Charlie, George C Scott as the man who gets things done.

Director Review: Mark L Lester Mark does a great job with this film pacing the story perfectly and giving us a slow build to learn how powerful Charlie really is. (8/10)

Horror: Firestarter shows how dangerous messing with powers you can’t control could be for people who don’t understand them. (8/10)

Thriller: Firestarter keeps you guessing to what will happen to the characters as the story unfolds. (8/10)

Settings: Firestarter brings us the traditional locations for people on the run mixed with the area where the government would conduct experiments. (8/10)
Special Effects: Firestarter uses practical effects to create the fire that Charlie causes. (9/10)

Suggestion: Firestarter is one for all the horror fans to watch and will be enjoyed by all. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Farm firestarter.

Worst Part: I feel we needed a little bit more from the backstory.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $15.1 Million

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: Charlie McGee is a happy, healthy eight-year-old little girl. Normal in every way but one. She has the power to set objects afire with just one glance. It’s a power she does not want. It’s a power she can’t control. And, each night, Charlie prays to be just like every other child. But there are those who will do everything in their power to find her… or destroy her.

Overall: A burning bright horror film.

Rating 80